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Batteries not included as Spain awards solar two-thirds of capacity in 3GW renewables auction

An existing battery storage project in Spain. Although none of the latest auction’s winning bids took up the option of including energy storage in their plans, the country’s big target for storage deployment over the next 10 years is likely to yield opportunities for the industry. Image: Iberdrola.

Solar PV bidders secured two-thirds of allocated capacity in the first of Spain’s new renewable energy auctions, which was held on 26 January and was more than three times oversubscribed.

The auction for 3GW of capacity specified that at least 1GW would be reserved for solar and another 1GW for wind, while the remainder was without technological restriction. Spain’s Ministry for Ecological Transition announced that 32 winning bidders secured a total of 3,034MW of capacity, of which 2,036MW corresponds to PV and 998MW to wind. Winning projects will receive 12-year power purchase agreements. The average winning price of solar PV bids was €0.0244/kWh (US$0.0295), while the lowest bid was €0.0148/kWh and made by Ignis.

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Despite the possibility for energy storage to be included in offers, which Tanguy Poirot, an analyst with consultancy group Clean Horizon discussed with ahead of the auction taking place, no winning bids featured the technology. However, the Spanish government's Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC) aims to install 2.5GW of utility-scale battery systems by 2030, meaning that the country's storage market is likely to take off in the coming years, even without involvement via the latest 3GW auction. 

With 84 companies offering bids totalling 9,700MW of capacity, the ministry said the auction reflects the “great interest” in renewables in Spain. “The positive results of this first auction show all the potential that renewables have in our country. Being the cheapest source of generation, incorporating clean sources into the system quickly translates into savings for homes, companies and industries,” said Ecological Transition Minister, Teresa Ribera.

It is expected development of facilities resulting from the auction will involve a total investment of €2.1 billion, while employing 27,000 people.

To read the full version of this story, including details of winning bids and commentary from Rafael Barrera, director of Spain's National Association of Photovoltaic Energy Producers (ANPIER), visit PV Tech.

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